Editor’s Note: Weaponization of information by Russia to achieve aims that would normally require more violent means is not a new story, and if it is not “warfare” to us, it is most certainly an extension of political aims with the specific objective of undermining our way of life and the influence of democracies throughout the world. What IS new is that there’s an arm of the U.S. Government that is taking this seriously and doing ‘something’ (though it’s probably far too little); the Global Engagement Center was begun in the previous administration and has taken years to mature and gain its ‘footing’ and that is a good thing. I hope to see the GEC take on a more active rule and perhaps even coordinating actions across the USG.
“The flood of disinformation from Russia has reached epidemic proportions as its leaders wage campaigns on multiple fronts. The coronavirus has provided a fertile medium for the spread of propaganda, and new technologies are promising a greater onslaught of disinformation aimed at eroding the world order.
Fighting disinformation that undermines Western institutions and U.S. policy goals is the Global Engagement Center (GEC). Lea Gabrielle, U.S. special envoy for the GEC, describes it as the mission center in an expanding network of partners all working together to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation. It has been in growth mode for the past 18 months, she allows.
“Russia has built a disinformation ecosystem that tries to promote anything that drives a wedge between the United States and our allies,” Gabrielle says. A report generated by the GEC cites five pillars of this ecosystem: official government communications; state-funded global messaging; the cultivation of proxy sources; weaponizing social media; and cyber-enabled disinformation.”
Read the whole thing here.